Fish and Aquatic Life
The Lake Superior Binational Program identified the Amnicon River estuary at the mouth of the river as important habitat for coastal wetlands and fish and wildlife spawning and nursery grounds. The lower Amnicon River forms an estuary with wetlands and sheltered vegetated banks, surrounded by privately held lands. The river supports spawning brown and rainbow trout, burbot, salmon, muskellunge and walleye as well as a diverse forage fish community. The Lake Superior waters off the mouth of the Amnicon River support high densities of spawning lake trout in the fall. The area is also used by spawning burbot, cisco, lake herring and round whitefish.
The river flows from Amnicon Lake northeast through Lyman Lake to its outlet at Lake Superior. According to the 1991 basin plan update, bank erosion and habitat limitations are degrading the fishery. The streambed in the upper reaches of the river is composed primarily of sand, gravel and muck. Below Lyman Lake, the stream bottom becomes boulder, gravel and sand with significant amounts of bedrock appearing as the river approaches the Superior escarpment. Amnicon Falls is the main attraction of Amnicon Falls State Park where the river drops from the Superior escarpment. Below Amnicon Falls, the stream channel becomes heavily eroded boulders, gravel, sand and clay. The Amnicon River experiences seasonal flow fluctuations that include flood crests as high as six feet along the lower reaches and low summer flows that reduce the flow over the falls. The river is popular with beaver, muskrats and waterfowl.
The only permitted waste discharge to the Amnicon River is from the Camp Amnicon wastewater treatment facility, which discharges by a diffuse surface water drainage through a bog and wetland at T49N R12W S33 NE. This drainage is recommended for inclusion in the NR104 update as a stream capable of supporting only limited aquatic life.
During survey work conducted as part of the coastal wetlands evaluation, while no rare species of macroinvertebrate were found in the river, the overall taxa richness was high (25 or more species) (Epstein 1997). The survey noted significant turbidity and aquatic plants, with significant silt likely affecting habitat quality, with septic system pollution present
From: Turville-Heitz, Meg. 1999. Lake Superior Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Wisconsin has over 84,000 miles of streams, 15,000 lakes and milllions of acres of wetlands. Assessing the condition of this vast amount of water is challenging. The state's water monitoring program uses a media-based, cross-program approach to analyze water condition. An updated monitoring strategy (2015-2020) is now available. Compliance with Clean Water Act fishable, swimmable standards are located in the Executive Summary of Water Condition in 2018. See also the 'monitoring and projects' tab.
Wisconsin's Water Quality Standards provide qualitative and quantitative goals for waters that are protective of Fishable, Swimmable conditions [Learn more]. Waters that do not meet water quality standards are considered impaired and restoration actions are planned and carried out until the water is once again fishable and swimmable
Management goals can include creation or implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load analysis, a Nine Key Element Plan, or other restoration work, education and outreach and more. If specific recommendations exist for this water, they will be displayed below online.
Monitoring the condition of a river, stream, or lake includes gathering physical, chemical, biological, and habitat data. Comprehensive studies often gather all these parameters in great detail, while lighter assessment events will involve sampling physical, chemical and biological data such as macroinvertebrates. Aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish communities integrate watershed or catchment condition, providing great insight into overall ecosystem health. Chemical and habitat parameters tell researchers more about human induced problems including contaminated runoff, point source dischargers, or habitat issues that foster or limit the potential of aquatic communities to thrive in a given area. Wisconsin's Water Monitoring Strategy was recenty updated.
Grants and Management Projects
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|2848900||Amnicon River||10039279||Amnicon River||Map||Data|
|2848900||Amnicon River||163414||Amnicon River - Near Petzau WI||5/20/2002||9/7/2018||Map||Data|
Amnicon River is located in the Amnicon and Middle Rivers watershed which is 288.92 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (47.60%), wetland (36.40%) and a mix of grassland (13.30%) and other uses (2.70%). This watershed has 641.39 stream miles, 7,914.74 lake acres and 42,306.80 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available for runoff impacts on lakes and Low for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Low. This value can be used in ranking the watershed or individual waterbodies for grant funding under state and county programs.However, all waters are affected by diffuse pollutant sources regardless of initial water quality. Applications for specific runoff projects under state or county grant programs may be pursued. For more information, go to surface water program grants.